We have a lot of birthdays around here. I mean duh-lots of people live here, therefore lots of people were born. Anyway, recently, one of my boys received a gift that he's wanted for at least a year. A gift that last year I said was way too expensive. He's shopped it, screen shotted and sent it to his dad, talked to his brothers about it. Over and over. I didn't really feel mean about not getting it. It's expensive and wasn't practical. But finally for this birthday, with coupons and discounts, we bought what he wanted. And not just the bottom line but the best. It wasn't like second mortgage $ or anything but it was significant to our family.
You would have thought we bought this kid a car! In fact, his response was better than any car we've given! He hugged me so hard he about knocked me down. And after his one thousandth thank you to his dad, he said "Best. birthday. ever". Stop right there-- I'll sell everything in my closet for a response like that!
Doesn't that kind of response make you just want to give again! What about the alternative? Have you ever had a kid say "That's not the one I wanted...". Better yet, ever been that kid? Yay for me, my parents have a dreadful VHS copy of a Christmas where I received a boom box. Yeah, ages me a tad. And there it is: lifelong proof of what an incredibly bratty 11-12 year old I was when it was clear in living color that wasn't the one...the brand...that I wanted. Yikes! Horrifying to watch. And makes me want to apologize to my parents weekly now that I have kids. Now that I've felt that same punch in the gut.
Earlier this year, I had a realization about that punch in the gut feeling. About what it must feel like to God when we aren't content. Since I'm a chic, I was thinking about my girly insecurities and how it must make God feel when I wish I had a different nose, or laugh, or body. It's as if he handed us a large, lavishly wrapped gift box, full of our outward appearance, our gifts and talents, our personality, our accomplishments and then waits with excitement as we open it. When I complain or want to trade with someone else, does it feel how we as parents feel when our kids aren't appreciative? Or when they're disappointed in our choice for them that we were so excited about?
Matthew 7 says if we give good gifts, just think of the great gifts the Father gives! And I'm not talking prosperity gospel at all! I don't think Scripture supports that.
So what kinds of gifts does he give? He gives us the Spirit--love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. He gives us Presence. He doesn't leave. He is near. He provides. Forgiveness. Not seeing us the way the world sees us. Peace. Healing. Salvation.
How much better are these things than money! Possessions. The world gives chaos. Distrust. Doubt. Insecurity.
"I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. " Matthew 14:27
They go hand in hand. How the Father gives combats troubled hearts. It's the opposite.
Since my realization, I've had to try to consciously be grateful for things. Things I never realized were something God would be proud of giving and I'm snotty about. I've tried to think of God as a Father. And how much I love my kids--how much more He loves me! Get swallowed up in that today!